Last night, I had a conversation with my friend about life, in general. We talked about our plans in the near future, our current lives, wondering what our mutual friends are doing and whether they’re still the same since the last time we saw them. And where else can we receive the latest updates about our friends, if not Instagram or Facebook?
“Did you check out Aisha’s Facebook recently? She just got married!”
“Wait, what? She’s married already? Wasn’t expecting her to get married so fast!”
“I know. Not surprised though – ever since I found out Marcus got married.”
“Marcus? Married?! He’s the last person I’d think to be the first among us to get married!”
“Tell me about it. I also heard Sue’s getting engaged soon, and you know Jasmine? Her wedding will be held sometime in March next year.”
“Wow… why’s everyone suddenly getting married? We’re growing up too fast.”
We continued talking about the engagement and wedding invitations from friends our age, which we have been receiving quite a lot of, lately. Amidst all the excitement and happiness we feel for our friends, I still find it pretty hard to wrap my head around the fact that I’m at that point in life where people around me are moving on to a different stage.
One of my best friends whom I’ve known for 10 years is getting engaged next week. I still remember how we’d often talk about the future, after school, while having our usual vanilla ice-cream in our uniforms. I remember how young, clueless, and scared we were about our future.
And now, 10 years down the road, it feels as though everyone around me is moving on. People are swiftly passing me by while I find myself standing, in the middle, stuck in stasis, as I watch the people around me leaving, and taking the brave step to enter a new phase in life. Everyone is moving on so quickly that I can’t help but think – am I stuck in the past? Or is everyone else just moving too fast? How did we get here?
I once thought that growing older would be a gradual thing. Like a step-by-step process, or a feeling that will hit you yearly, on your birthday. But no. I realize that growing older happens suddenly. It happens overnight. You’ll always remember the most vivid moments from your childhood, as though they just happened yesterday. Similarly, the future will feel like it’ll happen quickly too – and that is overwhelming, frightening, yet exciting, all at once.
When I was young, I once thought, I can’t wait to grow up. So I can earn my own money to buy all the things I want. So I can be tall enough to reach the books at the topmost shelves. So I can be mature enough to understand adult conversations. So I can travel and see the world. I also used to think that adults know it all – how they always seem much wiser, much smarter, and how they almost always seem to have their lives together.
But now that I finally am one, I find myself thinking, hey, adults are no better, really. Well, people do take us more seriously now that we’re older. But along with the ticket to freedom and authority, we will have to be prepared to feel the strain from the heft of heavy things like responsibilities and commitments. I’ve also learnt that adults don’t necessarily always have their lives together – we are all works in constant progress, still learning, growing, and trying to understand the world around us.
I guess, growing older is a natural, inevitable way of reminding us our purpose in life. I have faith that we will all get the hang of it somehow – even if it does look a little daunting from where we stand. As cliché as it is, we just have to go with the flow. Just keep going, keep doing what we’re doing, and never lose sight of our priorities & goals. Things will happen when they’re meant to happen.
I was reminded of what Ustadh Usama Canon said: wherever we are right now, be it in our relationships, career, or academic pursuits, we have to remember that we are exactly where Allah wants us to be. This doesn’t mean that we’ll stay stagnant and rigid in our place forever, while others continue to walk past us. We will eventually be moved, when He wills us to. Be comfortable with where you are, have patience, and have faith in the fact that your life has already been planned by the best of planners.
I foresee more invitations by friends who are moving on to their next chapter in life, and I share all the happiness and love around me. When my friends are secured with a job, a home to settle, and a brand new life to prepare for, when thinking about this seems too overwhelming sometimes, I’ll remember to take a step back, and tell myself that He has my future written & all planned out. From when we were born, till up to this point in our lives, where we are right now, is exactly where He wants us to be.
And I find great peace and comfort in that.